Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay
(R-TX) presented differing views of the federal budget agreement:
Gramm: Saying if tax cuts and balancing the budget "sound too good to be true, it's because it's too good to be true," Senator Gramm distributed a two-page handout on the federal budget agreement. Pointing to facts on the handout, Gramm noted that "Only 4% of the budget [agreement] is the result of policy changes. The fact is: they assumed a balanced budget." He added: "This budget [agreement] spends a billion more than we called for in the Contract With America... It actually even spends $5 billion more than the President called for in his budget... We haven't seen spending like this since the mid-sixties." Gramm noted that the agreement is bi-partisan, but pointed out that "the dark side of bi-partisanship is a conspiracy to defraud the public." He listed elements of the budget agreement he said one party or the other would be alerting the public to if this was not a bi-partisan agreement, and concluded: "We're in grave danger here of seeing an explosion of spending. We're in grave danger of seeing Medicare go broke... I'm going to vote against it but I don't want anyone to be deceived. We aren't going to defeat it."
DeLay: Saying that critics can pick the deal apart all they want to, DeLay said that the bottom line question is: "Is government spending as a percent of GNP going down as a result of this? Yes." DeLay argued that Congressional leaders reached a broad agreement with the White House but that the details have not yet been decided, and, as Republicans "have the majority, we write the details as we go along... on a lot of the details that are being passed around, I don't know where they are getting the details [as] they have not been written yet." DeLay added that "the Medicare numbers [in the agreement] are better than those we passed and sent to the President" and concluded: "We are winning... we get a balanced budget, tax cuts, smaller government... I love Phil Gramm. But this budget's better than the budget he negotiated in 1990... Since [Republicans] have been in charge [of Congress] the deficit has been cut in half."
Other participants: Dan Mitchell of The Heritage Foundation expressed concern that the "White House is busy filling in details [to the media]... by the time [details] have appeared in newspapers 50 times committee chairmen are going to feel tremendous pressure" to adopt the White House version. Steve Moore of the Cato Institute distributed copies of an article he's written for the May 12 Weekly Standard entitled "Why Make a Deal?" The article says, in part: "[The budget agreement] envisions spending some $80 billion more over the next five years on domestic agencies than Bill Clinton agreed to in his own budget last year."
Handouts were distributed by Senator Gramm and Steve Moore. Handouts favoring the agreement, including "Claims Versus the Facts About the Balanced Budget Plan," are available from Adrien MacGillivray of the House Budget Committee at 202/226-1843. Contact Senator Gramm via Mike Solon at 202/2224-5597 or Steve McMillin at 202/224-2934, Rep. DeLay via Susan Hirschmann at 202/225-0197, Dan Mitchell at 202/546-4400 or [email protected] (http://www.heritage.org) and Steve Moore at 202/842-0200 or [email protected] (http://www.cato.org). Handouts only are also available from Jon Meek at (202) 507-6398.
Economist Nancy Mitchell of Koch Industries and Senator Jim
Inhofe (R-OK) discussed the cost to the economy of the newly proposed
EPA Ambient Air Quality standards on ozone and particulate matter,
saying they will cost at least 100 billion dollars. Mitchell and
scientist Dr. Ken Green of the Reason Public Policy Institute
discussed a report embargoed until May 12 showing what the cost
of these regulations will be state-by-state. Mitchell, herself
the parent of an asthmatic child, added: "The EPA is telling
parents of asthmatic children that their kids won't have asthma
if these regulations pass." This is a lie, she said. Inhofe
stated that if this standards are made final by the EPA, "I
will invoke the Congressional Review Act, which will send the
standards straight to the committee of jurisdiction, then move
it to the floor for a vote. However, this leaves it open to a
presidential veto, but I feel we can get seven Democrats [to override
the veto]." Mitchell reported that 100 Democratic Congressmen
are among those signing a letter against the proposal. Contact
Nancy Mitchell at 202/408-8118, Senator Inhofe at 202/224-4721
& Ken Green at 310/391-2245.
Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) reported on the patent issue, saying
that advocates of protecting small parent holders prevailed in
the House when the Kaptur Amendment to HR 400 passed, but that
a lot more work needs to be done because Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
and Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) both favor removing the Kaptur amendment.
The bill has yet to pass the Senate, Rohrbacher said, and Hatch
and Hyde want the conference committee to remove the Kaptur protections.
In addition, Rohrbacher said, the Senate bill would allow foreign
companies to sue U.S. patentholders in lieu of paying them for
the use of their patents. Rohrbacher asked for help in 1) asking
Speaker Gingrich to appoint conferees who will stick up for small
inventors to the conference committee, and 2) asking Senators
to take the lead in the campaign to protect small investors in
the Senate as Rohrbacher has done in the House. Rohrabacher credited
NET and talk radio with the House victory. He distributed a handout.
Contact Rep. Rohrbacher at 202/225-2415 (http://www.house.gov/rohrabacher).
The handout only is also available from Jon Meek at (202) 507-6398
and at http://www.nationalcenter.org.
Jim Lucier of Americans for Tax Reform alerted participants
to the Administration's desire to: 1) force Americans to keep
"keys" with government which government can then use
to intercept electronic communications (cell phones, faxes, e-mail,
etc.) without a warrant, court order, or notice; 2) negotiate
international key-sharing agreements that would allow foreign
governments to access U.S. keys without a search warrant, court
order, or notice; 3) allow foreign governments to require that
U.S. companies and citizens keep keys on file directly with them;
and 4) for now, limit Americans to encryption that can be broken
in .005 second or less by government computer. Lucier distributed
a summary of the Administration's plans, a column against this
by Steve Forbes, testimony against this by Phyllis Schlafly and
Grover Norquist, and other information. Contact Jim Lucier at
[email protected] (http://www.atr.org).
Handout only is available from Jon Meek at (202) 507-6398 and part
of it at http://www.nationalcenter.org.
Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR) spoke about legislation he is promoting
to reduce the budget of the National Labor Relations Board by
15%. Saying "the NLRB is a serious threat to our freedom,"
Dickey reported that he's been able to get some legislation through
the House, but that in the Senate it's been held up by Senator
Arlen Specter (R-PA). The NRLB and big labor unions want a 6.7%
increase in the NRLB's budget, said Dickey, who pointed out that:
1) the NLRB has 1,934 staffers, 500 of which are based in Washington;
2) the NLRB has 52 field offices, three of which are located in
Los Angeles; 3) the annual rent for the Washington office alone
is 8 million dollars; 4) the NLRB has 15 lawyers per board member
(the Supreme Court has about three per justice) at an average
salary of $76,700; 5) the NLRB's annual budget is $175 million.
Contact Rep. Dickey via Jennifer Hartman at 202/225-3772. *
Scoop is published by The National Center for Public Policy Research to provide information about the activities of the conservative movement. Coverage of a meeting or statement in Scoop does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Copyright 1997 The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints of articles in Scoop permitted provided source is credited. ###